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Of bikes and the coming darkness

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Of bikes and the coming darkness

Old 03-16-08, 08:59 PM
  #1  
RangerScott
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Of bikes and the coming darkness

I posted this message in various forums... But I would like your expert opinion.

Ok, assume the following: there is a state of emergency, gas is $10/gal, whatever... the darkness has come. I need to get home (to my Mom's). It's ~180 miles away. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!!! I'm thinking of using a bike to get home; I estimate it would take ~4-5 days. I'm thinking of getting a Dahon Jack. $500 is about my limit with respect to cost. I would like to get a folding bike (I have very little room to store stuff). Ideas??? Any way to make a bike more "failsafe" (ie puncture-proof tires)???

Update: According to the folks in the general forum, I should get a very simple, single speed, steel, caliper brakes, bigger tires bike. Also, they say it should only take 1-2 days (I'll figure on 3-4 to account for detours and evasions).

Update #2: According to the folks in the touring forum, I should look for a hybrid w/ quill stem, and kevlar belts.

Update #3: I talked to my landlady, there is no room in the garage, but I can put the bike right outside my room (I live in the basement). I don't think my landlady would want me to "ride" my bike in the house, so it looks like I need to get a folder, and just carry it down the stairs (no, there is no door to the outside). Also, after emailing Dahon, I'm not sure if the Jack can handle this. Any advice on what brand/model of my to get? I anticipate both road and trail riding (C&O canal/Great Allegheny Passage).

Also, I got a Camelbak backpack, any idea on how to attach it to the bike??? Don't worry, I will get panniers too. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Scott
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Old 03-16-08, 09:21 PM
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Would you mind clarifying exactly why it is that you need the bike to fold?

You can certainly carry a nonfolding bike down stairs.
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Old 03-17-08, 02:43 AM
  #3  
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Unless you are writing a film script, I would recommend that you avoid dwelling on survivalist paranoia. No such sudden breakdown of our transport systems is likely.

Regarding the time you estimate it will take to reach your mother's home, I'd say you are erring badly. I'm no great athlete but in my early forties I easily managed to ride 375 miles in four days. I'd estimate that you could cover that 180 miles in two or two and a half days without much trouble.

Some folding bikes, because of their geometry may make it more difficult to ride 70 or more miles in a day. Maybe something like an old Raliegh Twenty would suit if space is limited. It has good enough ergonomics to let you ride it a long way and is rock solid in design and construction. It is very unlikely to let you down. Kevlar tyres are a very worthwhile investment. Obviously, a few tools, and a couple of spare tubes and a puncture repair kit would be important items.

Most cyclists will not recognise the incredible reliability of simple old fashioned hub gear systems. I can't speak about the modern 7, 8 and 5 speed hubs, but the old sturmey archer 3 speed hubs of the AW type were incredibly reliable. They ran day in and day out for fifty years. Here in the UK there are many fifty year old hubs that work just fine. God knows how many miles they have done. The new Taiwanese SRF3 and AW hubs are probably just as good. They are also very cheap.
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Old 03-17-08, 04:09 AM
  #4  
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If conventional petrol reaches $10 a gallon, rest assured there will be other modes of cheaper transport available when the time comes. A post-oil era would be 'out of the darkness' in my opinion.

I recommend a silver Downtube VIII H, with the Sturmey Archer 8 speed hub at www.downtube.com. Cheaper than Dahon and better. Perfect all-round bike for you and yes you would do the trip in less than 3 days. 2 on a good run or at worst reaching into morning of 3rd day at most!
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Old 03-17-08, 04:16 AM
  #5  
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Scott, are you anticipating that this state of emergency will be a regular occurance, or will it be a one off, do or die, situation ? Most bikes available today,from recognised manufacturers are reliable, using reasonable to excelent components, if a bike is going to let you down, other than something catestrophic, it will almost certainly something that could have been avoided by good maintenance practice. Good puncture resistant tyres and tubes are a good investment in any situation, from personal experince Schwabe Marathons are excellent, other people will have more and maybe better experince and suggestions. As to parking in a hall, if you take the pedals off, loosen the head clamp and swivel the handle bars round, most bikes reduce to an acceptable volume, so I would doubt that you would need to go to the expense of a folder. By the way, gas is ( i think) to all intents and purposes, $10 a gallon in the UK now !
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Old 03-17-08, 05:17 AM
  #6  
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Scott,
It will be hard to have the "perfect" setup for US$500.00. For that budget I would go with a Downtube with internal gears and a Camelbak (no rack).

Here are my preferences to the coming darkness, pretty much I would need 3 things:

1-a Cyclocross bike with effective light system - Anything different will slow you down (or because it is slower, or because it just doesn't go thru the potential obstacles or because it will brake and you need to stop and fix it). Keep in mind there is a nice chance that the amount of time you will spend carrying the bike might be similar to the amount of time you will be riding it; My pick: Jake the Snake from Kona:



2-A nice bladder system (I suggest Camelbak, just like yours) and something that will work as your fuel (Fruits, HammerGel, Powerbar, whatever you want. I personally would go for bananas);



3-An effective ranged defence system ( I suggest semi-automatic pistol like Glock or similar, with LOTS of ammo). People will try to rob/kill you. My Pick: Glock 22 with extra-long clips




Assuming the final destination in intact and with food and water, I would go 20+hrs before considering some sleep. I'm sure you can average more than 6mph, but I would avoid the main roads to the stampede of violence.



The geometry of most folding bikes are not very friendly if you want to carry them for long distances. I would go as light as possible




For the extra-cool effect, I would consider the Katana/Ninja sword on my back and the spiky Batman gauntlets...but that's optional.





The end is near,

14R
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Old 03-17-08, 11:24 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
Unless you are writing a film script, I would recommend that you avoid dwelling on survivalist paranoia. No such sudden breakdown of our transport systems is likely.

Regarding the time you estimate it will take to reach your mother's home, I'd say you are erring badly. I'm no great athlete but in my early forties I easily managed to ride 375 miles in four days. I'd estimate that you could cover that 180 miles in two or two and a half days without much trouble.

Some folding bikes, because of their geometry may make it more difficult to ride 70 or more miles in a day. Maybe something like an old Raliegh Twenty would suit if space is limited. It has good enough ergonomics to let you ride it a long way and is rock solid in design and construction. It is very unlikely to let you down. Kevlar tyres are a very worthwhile investment. Obviously, a few tools, and a couple of spare tubes and a puncture repair kit would be important items.

Most cyclists will not recognise the incredible reliability of simple old fashioned hub gear systems. I can't speak about the modern 7, 8 and 5 speed hubs, but the old sturmey archer 3 speed hubs of the AW type were incredibly reliable. They ran day in and day out for fifty years. Here in the UK there are many fifty year old hubs that work just fine. God knows how many miles they have done. The new Taiwanese SRF3 and AW hubs are probably just as good. They are also very cheap.
One of the strongest push I experienced in purchasing my first folding bike-the Boardwalk-was a transit strike in my area. If that is not an emergency, I don't know what is. I do not think that there will be a need for extreme survivorist paranoia, but I do and have experienced both man made (like riots), and natural (like earthquakes) disasters first hand over the years. Kevlar tyres, a basic knowledge of quick fixes while on the road, and prevention maintenance would go a long way in protecting you from becoming another grim statistics if and when the need arises. And all my bikes were modeled after the plain-jane basic old Raleigh three speeds of previous eras in the event an another emergency (either/or personal ( like a hopitalized relation) or region wide (earthquakes, terrorist attacks, another periodic transit strike etc.) should occur again.

For a more detailed discussion on Folding Bikes & Emergencies see: https://www.geocities.com/folder_fanatic/Security6.html

The actual 3 speed that I used for the folder's upgrading: https://www.flickr.com/photos/world-of-folding-bicycles/338611633/in/set-72157594461421431/

Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
Scott, are you anticipating that this state of emergency will be a regular occurance, or will it be a one off, do or die, situation ? Most bikes available today,from recognised manufacturers are reliable, using reasonable to excelent components, if a bike is going to let you down, other than something catestrophic, it will almost certainly something that could have been avoided by good maintenance practice. Good puncture resistant tyres and tubes are a good investment in any situation, from personal experince Schwabe Marathons are excellent, other people will have more and maybe better experince and suggestions. As to parking in a hall, if you take the pedals off, loosen the head clamp and swivel the handle bars round, most bikes reduce to an acceptable volume, so I would doubt that you would need to go to the expense of a folder. By the way, gas is ( i think) to all intents and purposes, $10 a gallon in the UK now !
I have given up the last of my nonfolding bikes for folders exclusively. These bikes are far more flexible and adaptable to any situation encountered than any other bike I ever owned or used in the past.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 03-17-08 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 03-17-08, 12:20 PM
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Ah - I see the forum is being taken over by nuttiness, even though 14R's is clearly tongue in cheek.



I've been paying over 5.00 a gallon for weeks - that's $10 and life goes on, surprisingly, without need of Glocks or running to a base in the hills for protection. I must say though, I am considering batman gauntlets. I am indebted to 14R for that inspired suggestion.

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Old 03-17-08, 01:43 PM
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Why is it that opinion in the States seems to be either "There's no global warming, there's no problem. Shut up and buy more cars" or "We're doomed. Prices will continue to rise, and once gas goes over a certain magic number, society will collapse"? People will be GRADUALLY priced off the roads, and GRADUALLY make the transition to alternative ways of living, whilst putting pressure on the government to GRADUALLY improve other modes of transport.
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Old 03-17-08, 01:54 PM
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Could be a troll, at least it's not a boring one. Thanks 14R!
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Old 03-17-08, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
People will be GRADUALLY priced off the roads........
Nothing gradual about it in England, Sammyboy, particuarly in london & South East, we're being manhandled off the roads, via our wallets, big time; and as for improving the Transport systems, I do't think they even care anymore, the travelling public, or customer, is the last thing to be considered.
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Old 03-17-08, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 14R View Post
For the extra-cool effect, I would consider the Katana/Ninja sword on my back and the spiky Batman gauntlets...but that's optional.



The end is near,

14R
You had me until the gauntlets...

Speedo
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Old 03-17-08, 04:41 PM
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14R:



You got talent, baby!
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Old 03-18-08, 01:01 AM
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I think you should see if you can get a setup like one of these...






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Old 03-18-08, 02:20 AM
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Where's the tyre pump?
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Old 03-18-08, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
Why is it that opinion in the States seems to be either "There's no global warming, there's no problem. Shut up and buy more cars" or "We're doomed. Prices will continue to rise, and once gas goes over a certain magic number, society will collapse"? People will be GRADUALLY priced off the roads, and GRADUALLY make the transition to alternative ways of living, whilst putting pressure on the government to GRADUALLY improve other modes of transport.
Sammy,
IMHO we are going to GRADUALLY go broke, people are going to lose jobs and in many places I suspect anarchy is going to reign and the government will be powerless to stop it. Think something similar to Somalia or Afghanistan. I hope and pray it doesn't come to this, but the US is all but bankrupt and hanging on by a thread. There are way too many scenarios out there to be able to plan for all of them. Something is most likely going to trigger a collapse of some sort and when it happens God only knows what will happen. Did you read the stories of what happened after the various hurricanes in 2005? Now do that on a national scale. All it would take would be a rogue nation to stop selling oil in dollars, or stop selling oil to the US period and it would be crash and tumble.

Aaron
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Old 03-18-08, 04:28 AM
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Well, I'm also a pessimist, but countries have a lot of economical momentum, so that even in bad times things don't go to pieces a la Somalia. More people lose their jobs, and there's less business, everybody suffers a bit but they tend to be cyclic. I don't think it's hanging by a thread.

People are great at surviving. And of course we have all these folders sitting in the garage that we can rent out.
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Old 03-18-08, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
Nothing gradual about it in England, Sammyboy, particuarly in london & South East, we're being manhandled off the roads, via our wallets, big time; and as for improving the Transport systems, I do't think they even care anymore, the travelling public, or customer, is the last thing to be considered.
What are you talking about? I live in Southampton, and work often in London, and it's GRADUAL. 8 years ago, fuel was 74p a litre. A year ago, 95, now 1:10. That's gradual. I've dealt with it by buying more economical cars and riding my bikes and the trains more. I agree that so far, little has been done about public transport, but I'd expect that'll be next. Lots of money is being spent in London on improving cycling, tax subsidies are available for cycling to work. Things are changing, gradually. I suppose it depends what you mean by sudden. The OP seems to suggest that suddenly, with less than 24hrs notice, things will go to pieces and the lights will go out. When I was a kid, in the early 80's, I remember fuel getting to around 2 a gallon, and everyone complaining that it was getting too expensive to drive. I'd call that gradual - we're 25 years down the road, and people are driving MORE. I'd expect, over the next 10 years, to see cars get more economical, alternate fuel sources come to the fore (I'm starting to see electric cars in central London now), and also that public transport will be improved. There's really no "they" involved in this - the politicians we vote for set the agenda, so maybe we can expect to see them either start to move (as indeed they are), or the Green party to pick up more votes?

Aaron - I'm at a loss to see how your model in the States is at all analogous to Somalia? I suppose the wide gun ownership gives you some commonality with Afghanistan, but if you really want to know where you are, I think you're much closer to Russia in the early 80's. That is to say, looking presentable on the outside, but economically hollow. The Cold War would've been taken a lot less seriously in its latter stages if people had known what kind of shape Russia was really in. I suppose a total cut-off of your oil supply could bring a meltdown like you describe, but seriously, that's not going to happen. What will happen is that gas will continue to get more expensive; quite quickly, but not overnight. There'll be a tipping point where the people who say "We're Americans, we have a RIGHT to drive" will suddenly realise that it just aint worth it anymore. Most of America could already halve it's fuel bills by driving more sensible cars, and even with the parlous state of your public transportation, people could drive a lot less than they do. Sure, some people will jump up and down, but who are they gonna shoot? This type of crisis is not at all like a hurricane - it doesn't just happen overnight. People will gradually adapt. They won't like it, but they'll do it. America didn't turn into Afghanistan in the 30's, and it won't this time either.
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Old 03-18-08, 05:34 AM
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Sammy,
I agree Somalia was a bit extreme I do think it is going to be more like the Soviet breakup, but even that wasn't without violence. Big difference in the population between the '30s and now. Back then WE were Americans, now the country has so many special interests that are attempting to claim their rights that it is hard to tell what this country is. Immigrants used to assimilate to the American way of life, learn english and want to become American Citizens, not anymore, now it is all about wanting recognition for their group(s) quite often at the expense of others.

Yes Americans can and should learn conservation, but will they? Too many have a sense of entitlement and expect to have everything taken care of by the government (very dangerous IMHO) I was amazed by all the people lined up in Florida after Hurricane Wilma went through to get THEIR ice, water and free food from FEMA. The hurricane hadn't even cleared the east coast of Florida and they were DEMANDING to know where FEMA was. They had known for close to a week that it was going to hit Florida. Ditto the issues with fuel supply after Hurricane Katrina, there were all kinds of congressional commitees and investigations at the state level into price gouging and scaremongering, none of which were ever proved. There were a couple of cases of local price gouging.

As far as an economic power? All the US does is consume, we have a huge trade deficit and no longer can manufacture much of anything it seems. Most of the "wealth" in the US is on paper only, and is not backed by anything like; manufacturing capacity, equipment or other tangibles.

Interesting times ahead to say the least.

Aaron
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Old 03-18-08, 05:40 AM
  #20  
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I reckon they'll learn mate. It'll be like little kids who have to be taught about tantrums. I also think that hard times tend to bring a feeling of national solidarity, and (thank God) a polarisation of politics. I reckon y'all are overdue that.
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Old 03-18-08, 06:46 PM
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Ranger Scott:

Nothing is ever as bad or as good as you feared or hoped
for. But fear makes us suffer before it actually happens,
and perhaps suffer worse. “A brave man dies but one death,
but a coward dies a thousand deaths.”

We may well see $10 a gallon gasoline eventually. Will it
alone end civilization? No. No more than $3/gal. has, even
when that looked unthinkable even a few years ago. We will
adapt. And some people will consider their FSUVs in a new
light. It might even benefit the world a bit if it drives
more people to consider healthful, environmentally friendly
alternatives like bicycling and walking and public transit
more than relying on the car to do everything.

Panics happen, and national emergencies happen, but we get
over them. Or we die, and that is itself inevitable (have
you dealt with that crisis yet?).

It is true that even with cars fully tanked, after Katrina,
many people literally were forced to abandon their cars
after they ran out of gas while waiting on the highway from
New Orleans which got blocked by an accident. So sometimes
the bike is the only dependable transportation in a crisis.
If someone doesn’t knock you off of it, that is.

As to your specific question about bicycles, I’d definitely
get some kind of folder. Dahons give you perhaps the best
bang for the buck; Yeah bikes are licensed Dahon technology
or actually made by Dahon and rebranded with some older
Dahon technology, I believe. Other brands are also good,
just more expensive. Why a folding bike?

<> Storage: You will be able to store it in your closet, or
under your bed or behind a door, or under your desk, or
behind the water heater.... Since storage is definitely an
issue with you, it ought to put folders into the forefront
of your options.

<> Portability: Carrying it down stairs is definitely
easier in the folded state. I have carried full size bikes
around bends in narrow stairs and wished I had a folder
then.

<> Anti-Theft: Wherever you go, or stop for the night along
your long journey home in your bleak scenario, you will have
to leave most full size bikes outside in the elements, and
risk theft. The biggest, baddest lock you can buy can be
foiled by a determined and properly equipped thief. Or he
can just vandalize it in frustration. But if you fold your
bike, it goes inside with you and it will not be taken
unless it is at gun point, and in that scenario the bike is
probably not what they want.

<> Adaptability: You may find yourself occasionally in the
position of being offered a ride, or wanting to take it on
public transit. Unless the vehicle just happens to have an
empty bike rack on it, you may be SOL. Or the person
offering you a ride may just tell you to ditch the bike if
you want the ride. Few will accomodate a full size bike in
their car. But with the folding bike, you make the bike as
welcome as yourself readily.

You may offer yourself your own lift, too: start out in
your own car with your folding bike in the back seat; when
you get bogged down in the traffic jam, you can pull out
the bike and abandon the car. Options!

<> Ridability: You will find that folding bikes ride as
well as any other comparable sized and accessorized bike.
The issue isn’t whether you should ride a folding bike that
distance, versus a non-folder; it is which folding bike. And
that gets into all the other aspects of bicycles such as
tire size, suspension, gear range, frame geometry, etc. You
can get really any bike type and components in a folding
bike.

I would steer you to consider the internal gear hubs for
their low maintenance, and the smaller wheeled bikes have
the benefit of smaller and thus more portable spare tires.

Get a folding bike and enjoy it and it may take your blood
pressure down and you will be able to envision a happier
future for us all.

Last edited by Keith C. Johns; 03-19-08 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 03-18-08, 06:48 PM
  #22  
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unintended duplication, please delete.

Last edited by Keith C. Johns; 03-18-08 at 06:55 PM. Reason: unintended duplication
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Old 03-18-08, 08:00 PM
  #23  
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keep $100 at the ready. that way you can go 180 miles as long as your getting more than 18mpg overall. The read "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy when you where you need to go...now THAT senerio would suck.
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Old 03-19-08, 07:31 AM
  #24  
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Downtubes are licensed Dahon technology
or actually made by Dahon and rebranded with some older
Dahon technology, I believe.

written by Keith above .....

That is not true. Downtubes are not made by Dahon. Not even branded or licensed or anything .Nothing to do with each other

Thanks Thor
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Old 03-19-08, 07:44 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
Why is it that opinion in the States seems to be either "There's no global warming, there's no problem. Shut up and buy more cars" or "We're doomed.
Cause those headlines sell more newspapers and keep people watching the 10 o'clock news.

Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
Prices will continue to rise, and once gas goes over a certain magic number, society will collapse"? People will be GRADUALLY priced off the roads, and GRADUALLY make the transition to alternative ways of living, whilst putting pressure on the government to GRADUALLY improve other modes of transport.
Now stop it. Common sense has no place in this thread!
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